Image Courtesy: Vanity fair.
Today I will do something different. We will look at the top 10 Must-watch episodes from the show that you all love: The Simpsons. It is now over three decades since it was first aired with over 693 episodes up its sleeves. Thanks to the internet, you can now watch almost all the Simpsons' episodes on various streaming services, and even YouTube has some full episodes of some seasons.
This article will briefly go through some of the best episodes that will spark your nostalgia. You should hope into one of your favorite streaming services and re-watch these episodes if you don’t want to purchase or rent the shows or if you are (like me) just lazy to dig up my DVD archives for the discs.
Let’s Jump in; here is the list of the top 10 episodes of the Simpsons that will spice up your Christmas. Treat yourself and your family to a nostalgic trip down memory lane with these incredible and timeless Simpsons episodes.
List of the top 10 Best Simpsons Episodes that you must Watch before Christmas
I am a mad fan of Simpsons. It was one of the most influential family sitcoms that I ever watched back in the 90s. The yellow family did set the bar high for animated series since then. It is because of the Simpsons’ success and viewers base that we were able to see future releases of shows like South Park, Family Guy, Beavis and Butthead, Futurama, American Dad, and others like King of the Hill.
- Season 31: Episode 670 – Thanksgiving Horror (1997)
- Season 1: Episode 2 – Bart the Genius (1999)
- Season 2: Episode 18 – Dancin’ Homer (1990)
- Season 24: Episode 515 – The Day the Earth Stood Cool (2012)
- Season 3: Episode 40 – Homer Defined (1991)
- Season 4: Episode 63 – Lisa the Beauty Queen (1992)
- Season 5: Episode 85 – Rosebud (1994)
- Season 5: Episode 86 – Treehouse of Horror IV (1994)
- Season 6: Episode 105 – Lisa’s Rival (1995)
- Season 8: Episode 156 – The Homer They Fall (1997)
To me, the following were undeniably the best episodes that I ever watched on the Simpsons. And honestly, I have re-watched them more than ten times in the past few months. The list is random, in no particular order.
I just listed them as I watched them, and ranked them according to how I enjoyed them.
Season 31: Episode 670 – Thanksgiving Horror (1997)
In this episode, the Simpsons family are made to confront multiple thanksgiving nightmares, which includes a first thanksgiving, an Artificial Intelligence confusion in a rare thanksgiving version of Treehouse of Horror. The risky space mission and mishap were complicated by a delicate source of cranberry.
A-Gobble-Ypto – The Simpson family and some of the inhabitants of Springfield are portrayed as turkeys while others are depicted as Pilgrims in a parody of the epic movie Apocalypto. As they search for their thanksgiving meal, Homer is among the caught turkeys, but Bart escapes to their location. Many turkeys are killed, but chaos breaks out as Abe, the turkey’s head I chopped off. In the mix-up, Bart is saved Homer and reunited with his family as Marge lays an egg, but they are chased off by Clancy Wiggum before a bear strikes and kills him. The egg is about to hatch and produce a turkey version of Maggie. Homer suggests that when they see turkey pilgrims eat turkey for dinner, it will be a horrible day for them when Thanksgiving becomes a tradition. And because of this, they all flee the home to safety. This episode has also been ranked as the top Simpsons episode by fans on Reddit (Redditors) and the best episode that featured Maggie.
Season 1: Episode 2 – Bart the Genius (1999):
The main character in this episode was Bart Simpsons. This episode was written by Jon Vitti and directed by David Silverman. During an intelligence test at school, Bart exchanges papers with the class genius called Martin. When the school psychologist analyses the test results, he believes Bart is smart and sends Bart to Enriched Learning Center for Gifted Children. Bart was a good fit for the new school’s laid-back liberal ethos before he is asked to prove his overlooked brilliance.
Season 2: Episode 18 – Dancin’ Homer (1990)
This is one of my most favorite episodes starring Homer Simpson. The episode was written by Ken Levine and David Isaacs and directed by Mark Kirkland and David Silverman. It is the fifth episode of Season 2 of Simpsons.
This was an exciting episode full of adventures of the courageous Homer. In the end, the Simpsons pack their cases and say goodbye to some of their friends and move out to the big city. Homer is worried that he plays for a bigger audience and shares the stage with the legendary Goofball of the capital city. When it's time to perform, he uses the same antiques he used to impress fans at Springfield. His first show was a failure, the audience was bored, he was jeered at until he was brought off the stage.
Homer ends his story, only to find out that the barflies were impressed. Honestly, this is the best Simpsons episode to watch when high. You will find yourself laughing uncontrollably from the start to the end of the episode. This is arguably the best Simpsons episode to start with.
Season 24: Episode 515 – The Day the Earth Stood Cool (2012)
This is another must-watch episode of the Simpsons that was aired on December 9, 2012. The episode was written by Matt Selman and directed by Matthew Faughnan.
He speaks rhymes and owns a whimsical store on a failed mall: he’s like the dad in a Wes Anderson film. The Simpsons take a culture critic’s work very seriously for over 25 years. Nothing gets through it.
Season 3: Episode 40 – Homer Defined (1991)
Season 3 started on September 19, 1991, with the first episode, “Stark raving Dad,” and ended on August 27 instead of the planned May 1992. The last episode of this season was “Brother, Can you spare two dimes? This was one badass season that it even managed to scoop an Emmy award and another nomination for outstanding voice-over performance.
The best episode for me in season 3 was “Homer Defined.” Which was episode 40 of the entire series, but the fifth episode of season 3. The main character for this episode was Homer Simpson. It was written by the talented and award-winning writer Howard Gewirtz and directed by Mark Kirkland.
In this episode, Homer frenziedly pressed buttons on his consoled during a near-catastrophic explosion in the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant before he found the correct combination and saved the day. While Homer knows that what he did is a mistake, he is thought he was becoming a hero. In the meantime, the relationship between Bart and Milhouse was changed when Luann doesn’t allow him to play again with Bart because she says Bart has a bad impact on her son and has forbidden Milhouse to see Bart.
Season 4: Episode 63 – Lisa the Beauty Queen (1992)
Season four of The Simpsons started with the first episode called Kamp Krusty in September 1992 and ended with Krusty Gets Kancelled (see what they did there?). It was a very creative season, as you can tell from the titles. It ended in May 1993. The season had 22 episodes.
In this series, Homer seeks to increase Lisa’s confidence by making plans to join a beauty contest. By chance, Lisa gets the crown and uses this new platform to make public service campaigns in Springfield.
Lisa unwillingly becomes an icon for Laramie Cigarettes as Little Miss Springfield. She begins campaigns against smoking cigarettes and swore to target Mayor Quimby’s corruption. Quimby and the officials from Laramie meet to find a way to defy Lisa as Little Miss Springfield. They explore a technicality in her entry forms; when Homer saw on the paper the area that was marked ‘do not write in this space.’ He instead wrote under it ‘okay.’ Because of this, Amber returned to her role as Little Miss Springfield.
Homer apologized to Lisa for costing her the title. Lisa appreciates the move because it helped her boost her self-esteem.
Season 5: Episode 85 – Rosebud (1994)
Season five was aired on September 30, 1993. The first episode of this season was Homer’s Barbershop Quartet. The season ended in May 1994 with the episode called Secrets of Successful Marriage. It featured David Markin as the showrunner through most episodes during the season. The two episodes had Al Jean and Mike Reiss as the showrunners: Homer’s Barbershop Quartet” and Cape Feare, created in the previous season. Therefore, instead of Season Five, they have season 4 development code 9FXX with 1FXX.
This is another season that received many awards. My favorite episode in season 5 of Simpsons was “Rosebud.” This was the fourth episode of season 5 and was the 85th episode to be made for the series. It was written by John Swartzwelder and directed by Wes Archer. Swartzwelder is famous for his prowess in writing comedy pieces; he was also the creator of Pistol Pete, 1996.
In this episode, Mr. Burns is looking for his teddy bear called Bobo after he had lost his youth and innocence. When Maggie meets the bear, she claims that it belongs to her. Mr. Burns tries, by all means, to get his Bobo back.
This episode featured Homer Simpson, Charles Montgomery Burns, and Maggie Simpsons as the main protagonist.
Season 5: Episode 86 – Treehouse of Horror IV (1994)
Another episode that still gives me chills to this day is the Treehouse of Horror. It was the 86th episode in the entire series and the fifth in season 5. It was the ultimate Halloween special edition. It comprised of the stories: The Devil and Homer Simpson, Terror at 5 ½ Feet, and Bart Simpson's Dracula, which are all Halloween themed.
However, Marge and Maggie interrupt, telling Bart that the show is disturbing and that they would rather listen to the old The war of the Worlds on the Radio NPR, rather than the first segment.
The Devil and Homer Simpson – This was the story that just killed the show for me. I loved this one so much. This is the reason why this show ranks among the top episodes that I love. It is a parody of The Devil and Daniel Webster in which Homer sleeps and dreams of donuts fashion. But when Lenny and Carl wake up to eat one, they tell him that the other donuts have already been consumed. Homer then says that he will trade the Devil (in the form of Ned Flanders) for the doughnut. After signing a deal, Homer is granted his doughnut, provided that they will own his soul until it is done. Homer finds a loophole; however if the doughnut does not end, he is safe.
Homer mocks this loophole, which the Devil threatens him that he will go to Hell. One evening, Homer goes down to the kitchen and eats the last bite of the doughnut without realizing it. The Devil takes Homer's soul as planned, but Lisa asks him for a tribunal, which the Devil agrees to at 12 am.
Season 6: Episode 105 – Lisa’s Rival (1995)
Season 6 of The Simpsons was deemed part of the Simpsons Golden era that begun with “Bart of Darkness” in September 1994 and ended on May 21 1995, with Who shot Mr. Burns? (part one), which was also a series of only two parts episodes.
My favorite episode in this season was “Lisa’s Rival,” which was the 105th episode in the overall show but the second episode of Season 6.
In this episode, as the name suggests, it appears like Lisa’s days are numbered, a new student emerges to be smarter, younger, and good at playing sax than Lisa. And on the other side, Homer is lucky to find an overturned sugar truck.
Lisa feels lie she’s going to have to work a bit more now that a new student from Springfield Elementary, Alison Taylor, is threatening to take her place. Allison is as intelligent and witty as Lisa, younger, and just like Lisa, she is a young saxophone master.
This was the most intriguing of Simpson’s episodes because it followed two unrelated stories but did it in a manner that complimented each other. In a different story, Homer steals hundreds of pounds of sugar from an overturned truck. Homer tries to make money from the sugar through numerous hare-brained schemes. Finally, bees from a nearby apiary invade the sugar, and the owners offer Homer money to repurchase the bees. Then it starts raining, the sugar melts, and the bees take off by themselves.
The third story in the episode was about Bart tricking Milhouse by posting his picture on the Most Wanted persons in America and updating the police of his whereabouts now and then.
Season 8: Episode 156 – The Homer They Fall (1997)
Finally, my 10th most intriguing was episode 3 of season 8: “The Homer They Fall.” This particular season had 25 episodes. The first episode of season 8 was aired around the end of October 1997, the first episode was “The Treehouse of Horror VII” and ended in mid-1997 with the episode named “The Secret War of Lisa Simpson. This season included four episodes from the prior season.
Season eight is one of the only two Christmas seasons, “Hurrican Neddy” that was aired on December 29 1996, which continued to air over Christmas. The showrunners of the season were Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein.
The Homer They Fall was a hilarious episode. I still laugh when I think about it. Back in the 90s, such jokes were still new since not so many shows had adopted the acting style that Simpson had. It was just on its level at the time.
On a trip to the mall, Bart buys an extravagant belt, but the school bullies beat him up and steal it. When Homer comes to the boys’ fathers in Moe’s Tavern, he is also beaten up. Homer appears unfazed throughout the battle; Moe bears witness to the action and tells Homer to try his boxing skills.
It all starts when Bart overhears Comic Book Guy while shopping with his family in a gadget store, and he doesn’t return his tiny gimmick band because he has no evidence of purchase. Bart gets it for four dollars from him. He shows his classmates at school (Springfield Elementary), where Jimbo, Dolph, and Kearney snatch the belt.
This was an exciting episode that was timely releases around the Christmas season. I remember watching it with my buddies on a cold Saturday. It was one of the flat-out funny episodes with a delightful mix of satire and hard-core facts on handling bullies and their parents.
These are just my top ten Simpsons episodes from the possible 693 episodes that the Simpsons animated series had. Your list must be different from mine.
Again, this is the best time to binge on such shows and relive the 90s moments—a perfect nostalgic journey to the good old days.
Which was your favorite episode?